2012 Rippon “Rippon Mature Vines” Pinot Noir – Phenomenal Old-Vine Beauty

 

Where The Rippon Magic Happens

 

I first began drinking these phenomenal Pinots with the early 2000s, earning the chance to work directly with the estate a couple years ago with a small release of their 2010s and sensational 2003s. My adoration is well known to friends, family and colleagues alike, with the Wine Advocate on record as well, referring to Nick’s wines as “Pinot Noirs that rekindled memories of those glorious Burgundy 2005’s”. You’ll be as thrilled as I am to hear that Nick’s most well-priced treasure – the 2012 Rippon “Rippon Mature Vines” – has finally landed in the States – ready for your immediate, hedonistic enjoyment!

The site which would eventually become known as Rippon was first planted to 25 various varietals during the 1970s by its founder, Rolfe Mills. Rolfe had spent time in the Douro Valley during the 1940s and the site of schist, rich in foliated mica and quartzite, on his land in Central Otago sparked a great curiosity. Rolfe began experimenting with his soils, isolating a parcel on the western board of Roy’s Bay, Lake Wanaka.

This ancient parcel is Rippon’s north-facing escarpment, and it forms the meeting point of terminal moraines and coarse gravels, all based in schist, where Central Otago’s earliest vines were planted. Rippon’s Mature Vines cuvee is issued from all of the fully developed Pinot vines growing in this expansive parcel. This is where it all began for Rippon, and the fruit of the vine from this parcel bears witness to the perfectionist style Nick (and his father Rolfe before him) is renowned for.

2012 “Rippon Mature Vines”

For those new to these pages, I’d like to take the time to remind folks how vital Nick’s training has been to the continuity of these world class Pinot Noirs. Not only are these the oldest plantings in the region, but they are tended by a man who spent his formative years working the soil and terroirs of Burgundy; he knew how vital his understanding of such things would be. To that end, Nick tenured with de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) , and spent time with Jean-Jacques Confuron, Lucien Jacob, Alain Meunier, Nicolas Potel and Domaine de la Vougeraie as well. His are truly the wines of a master craftsman.

 

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Thibault Liger-Belair – Making Monumental Moulin-A-Vents!

thibault-liger-belair

Burgundy, the Cote D’Or. For many, this is the place where it all leads. We begin our vinous journey somewhere else – Bordeaux, Cali Cabs, Italy, anywhere else – but all roads lead to Burgundy. It’s a confusing, confounding, maddening, soul satisfying journey. You’ll spend thousands of hours and even more dollars figuring out the players and the plots, and then, maybe (if you’re lucky) you’ll find nirvana. Generations of men and women dedicate their lives to these nearly desolate hills along a mere 35 mile stretch of vineyards where Pinot and Chardonnay reign supreme.

So why in the name of the Cistercians would anyone now turn to the hillsides of Beaujolais? Why look to places such as Moulin-A-Vent for inspiration? Simply put, the 10 Grand Cru vineyards of Beaujolais – with vineyards as old as 60 to 80 years of age – offer consumers stunning complexity (for absurdly low prices) when handled by a winemaker as deft as Thibault.

I tasted each of Thibault’s individual Crus on two separate occasions last year, more impressed as the wines gained structure in the bottle. These are vinified in the same manner as his Premierthibault-liger-belair-moulin-a-vent and Grand Cru Burgundies – no carbonic maceration for Thibault – and the results are chart topping numbers (year in, year out!) It’s time, folks; discover what every critic has been raving about…

His 2011s are available here

 

DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011 – One of America’s True Grand Crus


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection


DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011Dumol Estate Pinot
(93-95) points Wine Advocate

~ When it comes to reference point Pinot Noir, there are TWO estates on the planet which growers of this uber-luscious, ever-fickle varietal consider vanguards: Domaine de la Romanee Conti & Domaine Leroy.

~ So when DuMOL’s 2011 Estate recently recorded a potential 95 point ranking from The Wine Advocate, serious Pinot aficionados took note!

~ Why? For vintage 2011, The Wine Advocate bestowed a similar 95 points upon Domaine Leroy’s Grand Cru Richebourg.

~ The difference? Leroy’s 2011 Richebourg will set you back a cool $3000!

~ DuMOL’s 2011 Estate Pinot:

Retails at:  $100/btl
Your Price: $94.99/btl

From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:

The flagship 2011 Pinot Noir Estate DuMol Estate is all about balance and harmony. Nothing in particular stands out, just the wine’s stunning balance and proportion. Deep, rich and voluptuous yet backed up by serious tannins, the 2011 is an infant today. It will be great fun to see where this goes. Today, the Dumol Estate is pure sexiness in the glass! Amazingly, these vines are just seven years old. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.” 
(93-95) points


DuMOL


From The Pinot File:

“Since its beginning in 1996, DuMOL has had a stellar lineup of wines which today includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. Partners Michael Verlander, Kerry Dumol CellarMurphy and winemaker/partner Andy Smith tend to lead a low profile with very minimal public exposure and let their wines speak for themselves.

Verlander and Murphy met in 1990 when Murphy was dining in Verlander’s Walnut Creek restaurant. Murphy had been collecting wines from Burgundy since he sold his family tire business, Murphy’s Inc., to Goodyear in 1987. The two men decided to start DuMOL in 1996. The first year they produced 300 cases split evenly between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch.

The winemaker and viticulturist since 2000 is talented Andy Smith who became a partner in the winery in 2005. Prior to coming to DuMOL, he studied under Neil McCallum (Dry River, Martinborough), Ted Lemon (Littorai) and Paul Hobbs.”

If your account is set up, hit reply and indicate your desired order.

Or contact our office to establish an account and place your order: (866) 620-4476

All the best in wine & life,

Christopher
Wine Country Connection

cepagenoir@gmail.com
https://cepagenoir.wordpress.com/

2011 Burgundy – A Vintage Certainly Worth Buying – IF You Can Find Them

A prime success in 2011 ~ Clos de la Roche | Cote de Nuits

A prime success in 2011 ~ Clos de la Roche | Cote de Nuits

Let’s cut right to the chase: My conclusion on the 2011 Red Burgundy vintage (born from recent tastings as well as ongoing critical analysis of the region’s top estates) is that this is most certainly a collection of wines worthy of representation in any serious Burgundy aficionado’s cellar. Naturally I’m referring to the top estates when I make this statement, as the weather conditions preceding harvest (practically from the moment of bud-break and continuing unabated throughout August) were anything but ideal – Burgundy continues to witness more August harvests in this century than were ever reported in the previous. So it should be repeated (with exclamation point added) that serious consumers of Burgundy should be highlighting serious producers of Burgundy on that proverbial shopping list when it comes to filling their carts with 2011s.

That point being duly noted, 2011 is most certainly a vintage that yours truly will be buying not only as a professional but also as a consumer. Simply put, the wines showcase purity of place – immediately out of the bottle – while offering succulent fruit which is unencumbered by that “classic vintage” tannic spine. I expect to enjoy these 2011s across the span of the next decade (plus) while I’m patiently awaiting the unwinding of my 2005s (which remain tight as nails) as well as my 2010s (which have now quietly slipped into a slumber that I honestly hadn’t predicted). And based on the comments from the wine-makers I’ve spoken to, they concur that the 2011s will make for pleasurable drinking young as we monitor those more tannic wines that are tucked away in our cellars.

And what of “hot spots” for 2011? Where are the “go-to” appellations in this vintage? In my analysis, I have discovered some truly outstanding wines (very nearly rivaling their 2010 counterparts) from the villages of Pommard and Volnay for the southern reaches of the Cotes de Beaune – again, stressing that I have paid primary attention to the top estates. Prime examples of these successes may be found at Nicolas Rossignol, Pousse D’Or and Henri Boillot. Another “hot spot” for 2011, the hill of Corton turned in notable successes to include the estates of the aforementioned Pousse D’Or (whose Clos du Roi is especially worth seeking out) as well as Etienne de Montille’s biodynamic farmed Domaine de Montille where his version of Clos du Roi is quite unique from Landanger’s yet equally thrilling.

Turning our eyes and palates north, a particular favorite of mine may be found in the tiny village of Morey St Denis, where I have discovered a healthy dose of superb Grand Crus to include a host of outstanding Clos St Denis, Clos de la Roche and Bonnes Mares bottlings. These examples offer what may be the most interesting and delicious variations from these hallowed vineyards since the ‘05s and 2010s – they’re THAT good (in particular Virgile Lignier Michelet’s 2011 Clos de la Roche is a showstopper). And across the line-up I found the 2011s from Romain at Domaine Taupenot Merme consistently excellent to outstanding – very nearly equaling his chart topping 2010s.

From there, I’ve found relatively consistent results throughout the Cote de Nuits to include multiple successes specifically in Gevrey Chambertin. In particular I was struck by the generous style at Domaine Jean Michel Guillon (where these folks are bottling some of the most succulent wines in the Cote) – if you can find any of Guillon’s Premier Cru bottlings (Champonnets, Petite Chapelle, etc.) BUY THEM. Other highlights in Gevrey include Dugat-Py and Geantet-Pansiot – to name a couple of the very best (sure to be on my professional as well as personal short list). From there – as long as enthusiasts perform their due diligence – the Cote de Nuits is plentifully packed with excellent to outstanding (90-95+ point rated) wines.

Just how good IS 2011? Well, in the more positive words posited by Allen Meadows of Burghound, he informed us it would be a shame to overlook this vintage and even stressed that he himself would be layering in certain selections. After all, to cherry pick exclusively 5-star vintages clearly isn’t the point if you’re a Burgundy enthusiast seeking to CONSUME the Cote’s treasures products. It’s those vintages nestled between the “classics” that offer daily drinking alternatives.

So there we have it: 2011 is most certainly a vintage worthy of serious Burgundy consumer’s attention. It would be a travesty to overlook such a vintage – one considered “the most interesting vintage after 2005 and 2010” according to (arguably) the world’s foremost authority on the subject. So if your merchant isn’t yet stocking these wines, ask them why. Better yet, if you’re not seeking these 2011s out, perhaps it’s time to begin filling out that shopping list.

Tick-tock…

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Domaine de la Pousse D’Or – Landanger’s Vision Honors Potel’s Legacy

Pousse D'or

 

Since first showcasing the Landanger wines from Domaine de la Pousse D’Or at my retail shops when the 2002s were released, I have shared this story with hundreds of Burgundy fans. And now that the 2011s are being offered “en premier”, it’s my pleasure to dust off the old pages from deep within this blog for another round…

To tell this story, we go back to 1855, when the original estate, known then as La Bousse d’Or (the golden Earth) was in its first glory days.  At that time, this estate owned a vast amount of land by Burgundy standards.  In its holdings were the entire vineyards of Romanee-Conti and Clos de Tart, two of the most illustrious Grand Crus in the world.  Through the decades, the estate was sold and divided until the 1960s.

That’s when the estate came up for sale once again.  And that time, a man by the name of Jean-Nicolas Ferte’ comes into the picture.  Ferte’ was a man who loved to live.  A man passionate about everything in life that was exquisite, especially great food and outstanding wine.  A man they called a bon viveur.  He had a niece, Florence, who intended to marry.  The man of her intentions?  Gerard Potel.  Ferte’ “adopted” the young couple and set them up in their new abode.

Now you long-timers in this Burgundy business – and my clients who’ve read this tale before – know who Potel is.  He is known the world over as one of the single greatest wine-makers in all of Burgundy.  But before Potel became the Potel, he met Ferte’ and the niece, Florence, in Beaune.  When the three of them came together, Potel was already a wine-maker, but not in Burgundy.  But Ferte’ would drink only Burgundy, so he set out to find an estate to buy so as to complete this picture.  He told all of his richest friends in the Cote D’Or to be on the watch for something suitable.

The man that would contact Ferte’ about the news of the perfect estate would be Mr. Ramonet.  Ramonet sent a letter that the sale was to begin at a certain date but Ferte’, it seems, was on vacation.  The letter never reached Ferte’.  As the date came closer, Mr. Ramonet actually phoned to Ferte’ to announce the news.  This was a moment in history – Ramonet hated using the phone!

The sale was completed by 1964, with about half of the former estate being sold to Ferte’ and his partners.  The name was changed to Pousse D’Or, in accordance with French laws, and Potel was placed in charge of wine-making.  For years, there were partners to deal with.  Ferte’ had formed his partnership with his good friend Louis Seysses, the father of Jacques Seysses, the latter being another of the more famous names of Burgundy, as the wine-maker of Dujac.

Seysses and Potel – WOW that’s a dynamic duo – worked together for a few years at the new Pousse D’Or until 1978 or so when Seysses went full time at Dujac.  But is wasn’t until 1985 after many years of trying to find the “right” group of buyers that Potel finally bought out the shares from that original partnership from the 1960s.  And all through this time, Potel continued to make the greatest wines of the southern part of Burgundy, the Cote de Beaune, at this glorious Domaine de la Pousse D’Or.

Tragically, Gerard Potel died in 1997 and the entire wine world lost one of its greatest stars and most gentle souls.  “His legacy absolutely must be carried on”, was the cry, and one man stepped in to carry the torch.  That man is Patrick Landanger!  He purchased the estate in 1997, invested hundreds of thousands, and hired a new team of professionals from vineyard to cellars.

Landanger is such a perfectionist, such a control freak, that he made the decision to only release the wines that he had complete control over.  That meant he passed over the entire 1997 and 1998 vintages.  His first complete vintage, the 1999s, set not only a new standard for Cote de Beaune wines, but a new standard for Pousse D’Or as well.

And when I tell you – as a long time collector of Burgundy dating back more than 2 decades – that you should very strongly consider these wines for your collection, I do so as a fellow enthusiast; as a man who knows how great a “great” Burgundy can be.  And how rare they are to find….

For a complete list of currently available selections, please visit:

http://www.jjbuckley.com/search/c~0~st~pousse%20or

 

Domaine Taupenot Merme Part II – A Decade+ of Refinements leads to Excellent 2011s

view of morey

 

Beginning with the 1998 vintage, a shift in responsibilities was witnessed Chez Taupenot Merme – with the 7th generation taking over – and a host of viticultural changes were introduced. One by one, as these improvements were implemented vintage by vintage, the resulting wines benefited from even more defined personalities (best described by that elusive term “terroir”), deeper colors, more refined perfumes as well as textures that rendered the wines wonderfully drinkable throughout their life cycles. Guided by a desire for purity in their wines, Romain and his Sister, Virginie have taken the following steps over the past decade:

  • Completed the family’s conversion to organic viticulture
  • Began working with a process known as “chauffage post fermentaire” (which gently extracts “noble” tannins)
  • Elected to work with 100% destemmed fruit (ala Henri Jayer)
  • Started racking their wines into oak for 12-15 months  for resting on their fine lees
  • Reduced the amount of new oak (the maximum percentage being 40% for the Grand Crus)

These improvements, coupled with generations-old attention to detail in the vineyards have resulted in professional marks from international critics which have noticeably increased for this venerable estate. Including their less-than-barrique-sized quantity of Clos des Lambrays, this 30 acre estate (with holdings across Gevrey, Morey and Chambolle) – dating to the 1760s – is truly poised for the future as one of the leading domaines of the Cote. Jeannie Cho Lee MW (Decanter Magazine) has declared Taupenot Merme among her “favorite Burgundy producers” (along with DRC, Leflaive and Rousseau), while Allen Meadows (Burghound.com) has defined the wines as being “built on a base of finesse rather than power”, while being “both transparent and very pinot”. And considering that their selections now often garner top marks from Burghound per particular lieu dits, the time is now for serious Burgundy enthusiasts to get to know “today’s” Taupenot Merme.

 

For a complete list of currently available 2011s, please visit:

 

http://www.jjbuckley.com/search/c~0~st~taupenot%20merme%202011

Domaine Coste Caumartin – Artistry in Pommard

Jerome Sordet ~ Place over Thumbprint

 

As our intense week of tasting at the Grand Jours de Bourgogne was nearing its end, Friday’s finale was a positively powerful event filled with some of the most structured Pinot Noirs anywhere on earth. We were to experience Pommard in all her glory as we made our way through hundreds of samples spanning every vineyard known, north to south, and in the heart of the appellation. As we entered the Chateau de Pommard, glasses in hand, our final formal event of the tour held promises of surprises to come.

 

The wines of Pommard, as holds true for the balance of Burgundy, offer the taster varying degrees of flavor as well as aromatic profiles depending upon vineyard location. Pommard’s southern reaches – to include Rugiens, Chaponnieres, Fremiers, and Jarolieres – produce wines that are decidedly structured and firm; wines that are quite vinous in their darker fruit components, and that include those earthier notes and deep minerality. To the north of Pommard, the vineyards – to include Arvelets, Grands Epenots, Charmots, Pezerolles, and Coste-Caumartin’s monopole Clos des Boucherottes – are very nearly polar opposites of their neighbors. These northeasterly sites bring a more fruit driven version of Pommard to the table; the structure, while there, is less prominent. It is the cornucopia of assorted Pinot fruits that play the lead role in these Burgundies planted to chalky brown soils.

 

As we moved through the room, it was interesting attempting to discern vineyard typicity from one winemaker’s table to the next. To be certain, there were many a fantastic vigneron in attendance, yet as one sample of Pommard lead to another, I continually found myself seeking more transparency. It became apparent at one point that some had lost sight of place, preferring instead to make their own personal mark on the wines.

 

Then I discovered the table manned by Coste-Caumartin. A family Domaine since 1793, Coste Caumartin is now under the watchful (some say artful) eye of Jerome Sordet. To state that Sordet is a guardian of all that is Burgundy’s history is not an overstatement. Take for example the very land that he owns.

 

Burgundy’s rich, long history is forever linked to the Church. In the Middle Ages, most of Burgundy was owned by the Church. Parts of Volnay belonged to the order of Malta, while other sections were under the ownership of the Priory of Saint-Etienne. And most all who have even a casual knowledge of Burgundy have heard of the famous Dukes of Burgundy. And along with their holdings in Volnay, the Priory of Saint-Etienne also owned parcels in Pommard. These parcels are the very same plots upon which today are planted the vines owned by Jerome Sordet.

 

As Sordet further explains, his Fremiers once belonged to the Abbey de Maizieres, while the family’s monopole vineyard, Clos des Boucherottes, has been owned by the Sordet’s for over a century. These familial treasures explain Jerome’s firm conviction for time tested, traditional wine-making routines. Never will one experience mechanical harvests Chez Coste Caumartin, every single grape is harvested by hand and then sorted again by hand once in the winery. The wines are pressed by foot – as in the ways of his grandfather, Jerome explains – and only a maximum of 15% new wood is ever employed. These are classically structured wines, built for ageing, that are a joy to taste throughout their development.

 

And I (for one) am so pleased that this family is dedicated to terroir and place, rather than a personal thumbprint on their wines.